Are your wheels tubeless compatible?
Yes! We are tubeless compatible, but not tubeless ready. Whats the difference, you ask? Being tubeless ready means you don't have to install anything except a tubeless valve. To be tubeless compatible means our rims will work as a tubeless system, but you need to install tubeless rim tape and valve.
Here is a quick run down on setting our wheels up tubeless. Please note: setting up tubeless tires is a process that requires mechanical skill and technique. If you are unsure about your abilities, do not attempt the conversion process on your own. Consult with your qualified local bike shop mechanic for assistance. If you choose to tackle the installation process, protect yourself by WEARING PROPER EYE PROTECTION and exercise caution throughout the entire process.
1. To start, wheels must either be new or free of dirt and grime for successful tubeless conversion. With the tires off the rims, first clean the rim bed with isopropyl alcohol, or simple green. This will remove any oils left over from the wheelbuilding process.
2. Allow this area to air dry or blow dry with a compressor - the tape will not properly stick and become unusable to a a rim bed that is wet, full of dirt or oily. Also, do not apply the rim tape over any other rim strips or rim tape. Tubeless tape needs to be applied to a clean, naked rim bed.
3. Start the tubeless tape opposite the valve hole, tape around the circumference of the rim and overlap ends about six inches. Tape should be applied at room temperatures. Rims or tape that are cold will not allow the adhesive to properly stick.
4. Pull the tape taught while installing so there are no creases, ridges, seams or folds. Don't over do it. Pulling the tape too tight can cause it to snap in half or will over-tighten the tape and cause it to "pick-up" because the adhesive loses hold. You're looking to achieve a balance of keeping the tape straight and tight against the rim. As you go, smooth the tape down so that there are no visible bubbles under the tape. You can use a rag wrapped around your finger to help smooth the tape down against the rim bed because it will allow your thumb to slide easily. If you get a bubble under the tape, pick it back up until the bubble dislodges and resume.
5. Make sure the tape is centered in the rim bed, covering all the nipple access holes. Tape can be staggered/overlapped on rims that are especially wide to ensure complete bead-to-bead coverage. On road wheels, we like to use two wraps of tape due to the higher pressures.
6. Make sure edges are pressed down and fully adhered. You can run a plastic tire lever around the edges to ensure that tape is not lifted on the edges. IMPORTANT: On road tubeless applications, any air that leaks under the tape can pressurize the internal chamber of the rim and cause delamination and premature rim failure. In road tubeless applications, it is crucial to achieve a tight seal for proper performance and product longevity.
7. Prick a small hole through the tape for the valve hole using an awl or an exacto blade. OPTIONAL STEP: If time allows, install a conventional tube in the wheel and tire combination, mount all tire beads, air up to normal operating pressure and allow the wheel to sit for 24-hours. The tube will help "push" the tape into the rim bed and hold it there, under pressure, to allow the tape to get a tighter bond. After 24-hours the tube can be removed and you can proceed to the next step.
8. Install your tubeless valve stem with a small dab of sealant on the rubber base of the valve stem. Don't over-tighten valve nut! You don't want to deform the rubber o-ring or risk cracking the carbon. Valves should be tight enough so that they cannot be wiggled back and forth after the nut have been tightened.
9. Mount the tire completely except for a small 4-6 inch portion on only one side of the tire through which you can add sealant.
10. Add your sealant of choice to the rim / tire combo in the amount suggested as it pertains to your tire size according to the sealant manufacturer's recommendations.
11. Finish mounting the remaining portion of the tire bead.
12. In a small container, mix a solution of dish soap (8-10 drops) and water. Apply this soapy-water solution to all tire beads using a small brush. This solution will serve 2 purposes. First, it lubricates the rubber beads on the tire and allows them to snap into place much easier during inflation. Second, once the tire has air in it, "bubbles" will form and show you where the tire may be leaking air.
13. Use a compressor or a high volume pump to inflate tire. Make sure the tire beads completely inflate and "snap" into place. Realize you may need to go slightly past your optimal operating tire pressure to get all beads to snap into place. It helps to rotate the valve 180° to the top of the tire so that you are not forcing air past the puddle of sealant in tire causing it to splash out during inflation. IMPORTANT: Never exceed the maximum pressure listed on the side of the tire during the inflation process. Catastrophic failure can occur if ignored. Do not perform the inflation process with your face or other body parts near the wheel during inflation in case the tire should blow off the rim!
14. You need to visually verify the tire has fully beaded up and all beads are snapped into place BEFORE operation. Tires that are not completely beaded can un-seat during operation and cause a crash. Once you have determined all beads are in place, set the riding pressure and check for leaks. Remember that any air leaks will showcase themselves by forming small bubbles when they bypass the soapy water solution. If bubbles appear, simply shake the sealant that is inside the wheel into the area of the leak. This will distribute it into the area that's leaking and seal it off. You'll know when you have the wheel fully sealed when you no longer see bubbles around the rim and tire's bead seat area. If you see bubbles or leaking in the center of the rim, around the spoke nipples, chances are you have an improper tubeless seal and the tape is not functioning as intended. Therefore, your tubeless seal is compromised and the process will need to be re-done. Again, an improper tubeless seal will cause premature or even catastrophic failure and this failure is not covered under our warranty.
15. Lastly, mount the wheel in your bike and give the wheel a quick spin by hand. The tire should spin straight and true. If it does not, then the tire is more than likely not fully beaded into place. To check this, visually look at the tire (from a safe distance) around the sidewall and see if there is an area that is not fully popped into place. Usually these areas appear to be "sucked down" and the tire's sidewall will look different than any beads that are fully seated. If this occurs, you can release air out of the tire, reapply more of the soapy water solution to the area and reinflate. Repeat the process until the tire is fully beaded and spins true. Do not keep adding more air until the tire beads - you could exceed maximum pressure and cause the tire to blow off the rim.
16. Once the tire is fully beaded and spins true, it is advisable to clean any braking surfaces (rotors or rim) with a fresh, clean rag and isopropyl alcohol to remove any residues that may have found onto the braking surfaces during the tubeless installation process. Do not reuse your rag that you cleaned the rim bed with. Any contaminants that are not cleaned off the braking surfaces will result in poor braking performance, contaminate brake pads and cause premature failure of components.
17. Tidy your work area. Allowing the bike / wheels to sit for a few minutes while you put tools away and clean up.
18. Double check tire pressure and ride the bike at a slow, easy pace with the tires / wheels set at your optimal operating pressure. A slow paced, easy ride (with proper safety gear) around the block is perfect. This will allow you to judge the success and quality of your tubeless installation.
Final do's and don'ts:
DO - give yourself enough time to properly complete the tubeless conversion process.
DON'T - rush the tubeless set-up process, cut corners or try to perform it the night before a big ride or race. By rushing the process you are only setting yourself up for failures out on the road/trail, or even worse, a crash.
DO - know the limitations of your mechanical abilities.
DON'T - tackle the process hoping for the best if you are short in mechanical aptitude, the proper tools or the patience needed to successfully perform the process.
DO - consult a professional (like a mechanic at your local bike shop) if you get in over your head during the installation process. Know when to admit you've been beat or need help because no amount of 'hoping things should be okay' will help solve impending issues.
DON'T - use worn out parts like old tires that you borrowed from a riding partner or less than established products for the conversion like "home-brew" sealants. Do not use Gorilla/Electrical/Packing tape, valve stems fashioned out of conventional tubes, etc or other re-purposed parts. These shortcuts only cause more headaches along with future failures and your warranty will be voided.
DO - realize that air pressure tubeless set-ups require periodic monitoring to determine you are operating your bike with at the proper tire pressure. Realistically, air pressures should be checked and verified before every ride. Air loss is normal over time and should be expected - no tubeless system is hermetically sealed and maintenance free.
DON'T - think that a tubeless set up is the end-all, be-all to your riding experience. As mentioned, air pressures need to be check frequently to monitor air loss. Also, sealant dries out / up over time with age. The sealant needs to be refreshed on a regular basis. Consult with the sealant manufacturer as to the life expectancy of their particular brand. Lastly, tubeless set-ups do a great job at warding off many of the garden variety flats riders experience, but they do not solve 100% of flatting issues. Whether it's road or trail, you still need to be prepared to fix a flat should one occur - carry a tube and know how to use it.